JB: So Matt, we have known each other for quite some time now, but can you tell us where are you located and what got you interested in knives to begin with?
MM: This is true haha. Currently, we are located in Gladstone, Michigan, but we were making in Colorado and Arizona prior to building our new shop here. As for the knives, I have always used and been interested in them and as I got older, I started experimenting with knifemaking on rudimentary equipment in order to fill my collection with knives like ones I wanted, but couldn’t afford.
JB: Seems like that one is how a lot of makers got their starts – wanting knives they personally couldn’t get a hold of. I know it is similar for me personally. Tell me about how Vehement Knives got its start?
MM: Based on the knives I was making for myself and friends, I started getting more and more people interested in purchasing them. At this time, I was still working my “day job” and traveling heavily as a UXO Tech. (Unexploded Ordinance Technician) and a lot of other bomb techs started placing orders out on the road when they saw what I had made for myself and was carrying, so in September of 2011, I bought my first KMG and concurrently my wife, Jenna, and I came up with the name and concept for Vehement Knives.
JB: Getting close the 10 year anniversary – nice! What’s the story behind the name, Vehement Knives?
MM: Getting there! I started making knives in 2008, then established Vehement Knives as a business in 2011, and then went full-time in and completed my last UXO job in 2013. So, for the name, we originally selected Vehement because we wanted the first word to start with a letter that resembled a knife’s edge. Once we had chosen that we used our “lucky thesaurus” (which we have used for selecting many a knife name haha) to select Vehement because it exemplified the intensity and passionate spirit we try to demonstrate in both life and work.
JB: I think we all knifemakers need a lucky thesaurus because you have some pretty great names for your models haha. Your first professionally grade grinder was a KMG Classic variable speed – why did you select this one?
MM: I chose it for my first one (and continue to add them to my shop) because they are a robust, no-frills platform – no gimmicks or BS about it and that fits our shop haha.
JB: Agreed – that influenced my own decision when the time came too haha. What are some of your favorite knife models you have made on your KMG?
MM: Obviously a tough choice for any maker, but I would have to go with the Kuto Misa and our Combat Dagger. The Kuto Misa drew its name and sweeping lines from a sailing ship with a lot of history and a personal connection for a close friend of ours, so it has always been a special model. The Combat Dagger brought us some notoriety for being very representative of our style which is often a blend of classic and nostalgic design with modern flair and execution.
JB: Both great knives – I still need a Combat Dagger myself hehe! Who are some of your inspirations?
MM: From the beginning, I was always interested in two pioneers of the custom knife industry and when teaching myself to make knives, the Bob Loveless book “How to Make Knives” was an invaluable resource and his designs and execution methods have shaped a lot of what I do. Another huge influence is Walter Brend from his grind lines to the shapes of his blades and the cleanliness of his grinds. Lastly, few makers can go without mentioning the Randall shop out of Florida for the nature of production and design with such focus on specialized tools and processes.
JB: Totally agree – those are some great ones that anyone who isn’t familiar with can gain a lot of great insights into knifemaking and design from. Really appreciate your time and own insights too, Matt. To close things out, any tips or tricks on the KMG that you think would be valuable to other makers?
MM: Sure thing – without sounding like a commercial, do not underestimate the production efficiency value of having more than one when you start needing to put out a higher volume of product. If I had to give a “pro tip,” one would be with regards to achieving a sweeping arc on a recurve or clip point, utilize the slack atachment with a good, sharp flexible belt to get best results and consider the rotary platen attachment too – this is how we achieve a lot of the sweeping lines and radiused choils that many of our models are known for
JB: Awesome – definitely something I think a lot of makers and users can appreciate! Well, once again, thank you for your time, Matt! From a personal perspective, many of these readers may not know this, but obviously you were the one who taught me almost 6 years ago how to design and make custom knives and has had a profound influence on my own style and execution, so definitely something I can’t thank you enough for!
Matt and Jenna operate Vehement Knives out of Gladstone, Michigan and you can find more about their work through social media on all the major platforms (@vehemementknives) and also in their private Facebook group The Vehement Syndicate. Their website is www.vehementknives.com. I would definitely recommend giving them a follow and also make sure to follow @beaumontmetalworks as we have a lot more exciting things to come and we all appreciate them making the Maker’s Spotlight possible and supporting the maker community as a whole!
All the best,
Form, Fit, and Function for Every Day Carry